With much of the country still reeling after the horrific discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former B.C. residential school, parts of Abbotsford took time to acknowledge the senseless loss on Monday (May 31).
The Abbotsford School District announced on Sunday afternoon (May 30) that flags across all local schools would be at half-mast to acknowledge the deaths. All district sites took a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. on Monday.
The ASD also encouraged everyone to wear orange on Monday, and a statement by Superintendent Kevin Godden was also posted on Sunday.
Flags across #AbbySchools will be at half-mast in honour of the 215 children whose remains were uncovered in a mass unmarked grave in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. Tomorrow, all district sites will take a moment of silence at 9:30AM. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/OouM7FTKoJ
— Abbotsford Schools (@AbbotsfordSD) May 30, 2021
“This horrific tragedy will serve as a difficult reminder for survivors of residential schools and their families, and a reminder of the hurt and intergenerational trauma they have endured,” he stated.
“We will continue to care for our staff, students, and families in need of our support or resources. There cannot be reconciliation without truth and understanding. While conversations around the history and impact of residential schools are taking place within our schools, we encourage you to continue the learning at home with your family.”
The Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts (ASIA) – North Poplar campus also erected a teepee, which will remain standing in the back playground of the school for the next few days. Students gathered outside and participated in two traditional songs and also observed the moment of silence on Monday morning.
The City of Abbotsford also lowered all its flags to half-mast on Monday. Mayor Henry Braun released a statement on Monday morning.
“In memory of the 215 children whose remains were discovered at the former Kamloops residential school, the City of Abbotsford has lowered its flags to half-mast,” he stated.
“The City of Abbotsford sends its deepest sympathies to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and surrounding communities. We also share our condolences with our local First Nations who are deeply impacted by these findings and the generations of families who continue to grieve the pain brought by the residential school system.”